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tv   Beyond the Headlines  ABC  July 31, 2011 10:00am-10:30am PDT

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welcome to "beyond the headlines", i'm cheryl jennings. we're talking about a very special and overlooked part of our community. people in foster care. according to public policy institute, in 2010 about 60,000
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children under the age of 18 were in foster care. foster care is temporary for most children but many do not leave before they become adults. foster children were removed from their homes because child welfare departments or juvenile courts determined they could no longer safely with their birth parents. our guests are very dedicated today and helping them to find opportunities to build a healthy future. in the studio with us right now, is john burton, no matter always a senator. we also have rebecca taylor who grew up in the foster care system. this is really important show. 60,000, that is huge number and that number is down but sounds impossible. senator burton, can you set the
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foundation. >> it started out just to focus on homeless children. somehow i buchbld into the foster care issue. people don't understand that i was in public office for 35 years. until i got out i did not realize how screwed up the foster care system is. bee started focusing on that. you could change laws and change policy to help foster children. about f it's homeless children you almost to have change society which you can't do with a law. >> so you starred screwed up. can you give us an example of that? >> it still is. children's have six through ten placements. some up to 20. we found out that there was no housing for them. when they turn 18, they are turned out on the street with nothing.
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you get out of jail you get $200 and a bowl of soup. we started focusing our foundation emancipated as they call them, kids. where 50% of the kids that are emancipated end up on the streets end up in prison, some of them end up dead. the others like rebecca and some that are tough, they fight their way through it. they go to college. they get an education and become contributing members of society, but most of them have had somebody in their life to start that spark, took an interest and gave them a shot forward. rebecca i truly think she had her own spark. >> rebecca, tell us about that. >> i had placements, different types of emergency.
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i bunch of those. i felt very powerless in my own placement. i was taken out of my home for a good reason, but then at the end of the it, i was aged out. there and i was on my own. >> so also just for your future. you mention education? >> education is the most important part of all this because i feel like i kind of got the short stick. when i was bounced around, i had to change high schools and i couldn't get good grades, i couldn't really focus. i missed some of the fundamentals like math and english. i had to take all those again in college the remedial classes.
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>> tell us about your studies. >> i am a nursing student in august. i will be graduating in december and hopefully transferring. >> you are working for john burton's foundation? >> yes, i am. >> i know your foundation leads the fight to fix that. >> we were able to work and got $50 million in the housing bond that was passed a few years ago for transitional housing, also money in the budget for the services that go with that. you could get a place to live but if they don't have counseling or some services, where to go, what to do, it's less helpful. we were able to do that. one of the programs we do, we call it backpack to success where we go around and get donated gift cards.
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gap gap pays us in $100,000 in gift cards. safeway, walgreen's. we've gotten several ipads and iphones from different offices. we have essays by the kids and give the winning eggs says one of the gifts. and losing essays we buy more gifts. there are not any losers. some of the essays make you cry a little longer. >> reporter: rebecca i congratulate you on your success. what is your message? >> it affects the stability and physician their long term. only 25% get to attend college. 20% versus 60% of the to makeon. >> we're going to make that change today.
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thank you both for being here. we do have a ticking taik a break. we have so much to talk about. we're going hear about the largest nonprofit@ñ
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we've been talking about foster care in california and the importance of supporting the organization that helps our homeless children. young adults as they reach the
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18 are some of the most vulnerable. capital correspondent nannette miranda has more on the foster youth. >> for nearly a decade the state of california has provided transitional housing that age out of the foster care system on their 18th birthday. it's credited with improving young adult lives by reducing homelessness and finding jobs and keeping them out of jail. her apartment is sparse but without a family who knows where she would be. >> i don't know. >> those housing programs is incredibly valuable resource. but in the studio with me right now is darrell evora, president and ceo of family services. thank you for being here. the organization has been around it a long time. we're trying to educate people
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about the foster system, what does it do? >> we are a nonprofit social service mental health agency. you mentioned we're close to 150 years old. we serve about 20,000 children in crisis and their family members in all across the state every year. we have five service hubs, one here in the bay area, one in the capitol region, sacramento and surrounding counties. l.a., san bernardino and then a statewide foster family agency that serves 30 different counties. >> so how does the process work? >> a social worker typically from a department of social services respective county would make a decision along with a judge to remove a child for their safety from the home. the kids are then referred to us. we recruit foster families and attempt to place kids with our
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families. we prioritize to place kids with real family members. trying to make a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, someone that a child knows and loves as a home they end up. if they can't be with the natural parent. >> en i know there has been discussion they can get help taking additional family member, financial subsidy? >> there is if they qualify for care programs or actually to be a foster parent. state and county will help them fund to care for the kids. >> what about the mentoring. they don't have anybody at all to turn to. >> we have a mentoring program for special needs kids. we recruit community members to serve them. again, we're looking to provide stability and permanence. we're looking for community
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members that will care for the kids and stay with them as mentors even after they left our programs. we have a whole gamut of mental health programs. the important thing for you to know listen has linked early childhood trauma with the onset of mental illness. so in caring for those kids, it took us in the mental health business. imagine an 8-year-old being made to go live with a stranger or being put in an institution. so we offer out patient services where you can come in and see a psychiatrist to more intensive services like residential treatment where kids actually live with us for a short time while we help them learn to be safe in the community. >> we have just a few seconds. how do become a foster parent. >> you call an 800 number, --
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they'll be people that will explain the process and walk anybody that is interested through. >> it we'll put the number on our website. >> do you have any special criteria. >> you can be anyone that loves kids and wants to help kids. >> and of course you do a background check on them? >> oh, yeah. what is the process for that. >> i can take up to a number of months. there is a process, there is training, ongoing support. it's part of what a foster family offers to the family to become parents. >> darrell, thank you so much. i really appreciate it. we do have to take a break. when we come back, we're going hear about the importance of transitional housing for young people who have been aged out of
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welcome back to "beyond the headlines." we have been talking about foster care in california, homelessness, pregnancy and jail
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are few of the challenges as they age out at 18 years old. here to talk to us about transitional housing is sam cobws. sam, i know we've met in the past. i'm so pleased are involved in this. you think this is vital program. >> this is an extremely vital program as they age out of the foster care system to really a bath way for successful adulthood and be contributing members of our society. >> for people that don't know about aged out, can you explain that? >> in the state of california, young people are placed in the foster care system and previous guests have talked about that have been abused and neglected. at the age of 18, if they haven't been placed back with their family, they are no longer young enough to be the program. the state considers them adults.
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so therefore they have to make it on their own. >> and it's tough enough for a kid with intact family? >> yes. it was tough five years ago. with the state of our economy and it's tougher today. we often talk about what young person can just do it by themselves at the age of 18. >> so how does your program work? >> our program uses transitional housing. we have apartments that we lease in landlords and we sublease those apartments to young people. the housing is actually what contains a young person and gives them a foundation to start from. the program is based on employment and education. we want to help young people who haven't finished high school. we want to help those who have the ability to enroll in higher education, to get a job and really about helping young people to become self sufficient
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and the how go is glue. >> you take them off the street and get them into a future. >> it takes them off the street and gets them into a future. we have a team of staff people who work with our young people. we have one staff person that we call a cases manager. we consider them the flight controller there, coordinate can everything there. staff people that focus on employment and education. we understand if young people aren't educated enough, that they are pretty much doomed for a level of poverty. we are trying to increase the number of young people that have the opportunity to lead with some type of marketable skill. >> how do they reach you and what do you serve? >> four counties, alameda, solano, san francisco and contra costa. we have offices in all these counties. the way young people find out about us is through word of
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mouth. they say i found out from another young person. you get on the phone and call anyone and say i have a young person that is transitioning without foster care. four people will call first place for you. >> how easy it to apply? >> it's pretty easy to plae apply, but we do have wait lists we don't have enough housing for all of the young people that come to us but we try to engage them and try to contain them until we actually have housing available. all of those counties are severely impacted by budget cuts and we don't have enough spots, but we work with young people to make sure they are safe. they do have the opportunity to come into housing once we get something developed. >> so you need stock of housing.
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that is going to ob our goal. we need everybody to get involved out there. we need to take a break. when we come back, we're going to meet a local businessman that has been supportin
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welcome back. we have been talking about foster kids. one local business has embraced foster children in its commercials. here is one example. >> there are 60,000ildrenoster children and having the necessary school supplies can make the difference between success and failure. >> the school and classes and kids. >> it's hard starting over. >> to help, help us collect school supplies. help a foster child start the school year right. >> everyone can help a foster
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child. >> they are absolutely right. joining us in the studio is dale carlsen and kim casteneda. we're doing a half an hour on foster kids. i've watched you ui using your own professional commitment. why did you decide to get involved with this. >> my wife and i were very involved. we looked around and how could we help in the community. we saw foster kids as a voice that needed help. >> you told me a long time a story, about what made you decide the project was worthy. you started it in college? >> it started in college, i did a research project on information kerr kids. early on when we first started,
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we delivered products to the kids, the toys to the kids. we noticed the kids didn't have basic needs. they didn't have shoes, they didn't have mattresses, jackets. this is what we're going to do. we have to make a difference here and bring basic necessities that are trying to make it through the system. >> you do it on many levels. >> we helpful out, like kim's organizations, 21 organizations we currently working with. we have clothes, and school supplies and golf tournament to raise money to help the kids get by. you've heard many of them today. one story that stuck with me, 63% of the kids are dead or
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homeless or in jail within 18 months of leaving the system. 70% of the prison system went through the foster care system. >> i know they help you in many ways. >> we offer work for foster youth. one is a distribution day but we like to might e meet their needs. a lost our programs evolve what she saw was missing from the information terrify care system. basic need items is huge. three times year we do a distribution bank. we serve about 200 kids. it wouldn't be possible without the donations. its huge part of what we do. >> only new things. >> and when they leave their home, they only leave with their clothes on their back. they don't have anything that is
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theirs. the home is not theirs. having new items they can take along with them is huge and empowering and gives a sense of ownership. >> i notice you have a donation? >> we have a backpack and slept on backpack and i want to start a pillow pack program. a pillow, pillowcase and blanket they can use and they have a place to lay their head. >> a sample of what you give. >> we have a great community, great people that really care. so what we wanted to provide the opportunity for to help. because as you saw in the spot that occurred, they have the program and to the school, they don't have the school supplies and they don't have the beginning basics.
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it's hard to catch up. >> and this is something as basic as pencils and paper. >> things that you would think they would have. with budgets as tight as they are, many organizations don't have the funds to provide them. >> kim, i want to ask you, you also have programs to help mentor kids? >> we have a mentoring program and we have a scholarship program. we have two week summer camp that helps transition youth. we also do an adoption program. >> we only have ten seconds left. final thoughts? >> anybody can help a foster child. >> i agree. if you want to get involved and be a mentor for foster youth, go to our website. >> we are going to put all this information on our website because it's too much
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information to write it down. thank you for what you are doing. i hope that everybody at home can do something. somebody can donate pencils or pens or something. unfortunately we are out of time. we want to thank all ofguests fr guests for a very special program today. that is it for this edition of "beyond the headlines." we have information about the guests available at our website/community and now at new place, community affairs and follow me or find me direct tweet twitter. we want to hear from you. i'm khiarls jeojs. thanks so much for joining us. have a greater week and we'll see you next time. [ female announcer ] did you know
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